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HDTV Converters: Handy Way to Enjoy the Goodness of HDTVs at Low Prices!

written by: Om Thoke•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 11/28/2009

HDTV is regarded as one of the best buys in the market today. But, when you don’t want to upgrade to HDTV, you can enjoy the goodness of HDTV by using HDTV converters with TV sets that are HD-ready. HDTV converters are primarily used for attaining signal conversion, so let's see how they work.

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    High definition television sets are capable of receiving high resolution images, videos, and sound that is sometimes twice as good as traditional analog telecasts. But if you don’t wish to shell out some serious money to upgrade to an HDTV and still want to enjoy HDTV picture and sound quality, a HDTV converter may serve the purpose for you.

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    How to Make Use of HDTV Converters?

    Current HDTV systems receive digital signals directly. If any digital-to-analog conversion is necessary, the sets handle it themselves. However, many "high-definition-ready" analog sets are still in daily use. In many countries, most of the domestic television sets still are analog TV. If they’re HD-ready, HDTV converters eliminate the need of purchasing an HDTV. They do this by transforming high-definition digital data into a high-definition analog format. In this way, HDTV or digital converters can be used to reap the benefits and high picture quality that is comparable to that obtained from the HDTV sets without investing a lot of money.

    Note: Your analog TV must be an HD-ready TV set capable of displaying high-definition images in order to produce the expected results with an HD converter/tuner.

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    The Difference between HDTV Converters and HDTV Tuners

    HDTV converters and HDTV tuners are often confused to be one and the same. However, in reality they’re two different devices, though both of them basically receive digital signals transmitted by an antenna. The major difference lies in the output of these two devices.

    An HDTV converter is capable of rendering only analog signal output, and the very purpose of using an HD converter is attaining signal conversion. In short, an HDTV converter is used for conversion of an HD signal in digital form into its analog counterpart.

    HD tuners serve the totally different purpose of providing digital outputs to HDTVs (known as "high-performance monitors") that lack the capability to receive over the air broadcasts. However, some of HDTV tuners are also competent enough to produce analog outputs, and serve a dual purpose of being an HDTV converter as well as tuner.

    Quite obviously, such tuners are more expensive than HD converters.

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    The Difference between HDTV and HD-Ready TV

    An HD-ready TV isn’t simply an HDTV. These two terms have been causing a lot of confusion amongst users, as have the terms HD tuner and HD converter. Basically an HD-ready analog TV can receive high definition broadcasts with the help of an HD or digital converter, and the combined cost of the two, if you already own the HD-ready TV, is far less than a new HDTV.

    On the other hand, an HDTV in itself is capable of receiving HD broadcasts without requiring any kind of additional components and even of catching free over-the-air telecasts. The picture and sound clarity of an HDTV is significantly better than the combination of an HD-Ready TV and HD tuner and/or HD converter. Nevertheless, many people prefer the latter option due to the difference in pricing.

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    How to HDTV Converters Work?

    HDTV converters can accept all kinds of input signals ranging from RGBHV, YCbCr, to YPbPr format, and automatically detect them. Next, they convert the signals into the desired resolution form, which may be 480i, 720p, 480p, or 1080i.

    Moreover, they’re also capable of decoding 480i component video signals, and are highly compact unlike the bulky ordinary television converters.

    Note: Here “i” stands for interlaced, and "p" stands for progressive.

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    Different Brands and Pricing

    There are several brands of HDTV Converters on the market, ranging from Philips, JVC Professional Products Company, and Viewsonic, down to Panasonic and Doremi Labs, Inc. The choice of brand is totally a personal decision, though you may want to compare your options, before deciding upon the best one.

    As far as pricing is concerned, it usually lies in the range of $150 to $300. You can purchase HDTV converters from local outlets or find some good deals online.

    Before purchasing an HD converter, you may also want to learn how to connect a Digital TV Converter with a DVD Player or VCR

    In case you're interested to purchase a new HDTV, you may want to take a look at the best brands of HDTV available in market.